After my beer (steam beer- california common) has been sitting in my basement for about 6 days, whats the next step? I know it goes to the fridge to chill for a few weeks, but what are the positive and negatives of leaving it in my basement for longer or shorter? What about the fridge, how long does it need in there? More importantly, what is it doing while its in the basement/fridge... Thanks!
I'd leave it in your basement for at least 2 weeks provided it is warm enough for the yeast to ferment the priming sugar. After bottling I like to keep my beer somewhere around 70 degrees F for 2-3 weeks for bottle conditioning, then move to celler temps (58-62 degrees F) for storage. I take them out of storage and place them in the fridge about a day before enjoying them but longer in the fridge definitely won't hurt. Just make sure the carbonation is where you want it before refrigerating your beer.
For your bottles, 2-3 weeks at 70F and they should be completely carbed. It's best to get them in the fridge for a few days before you drink them just to make sure suspended yeast drops hard and stays out of your glass. Cheers.
I like to keep them in Rubbermaid totes in my house where it's between 68-70 for at least two weeks. Then I might put a few in the fridge and take the rest to under the house where it's 50-60 most of the time. After I put some in the fridge, I leave them there for at least 48 hours before I open one. You'll get a few different answers on the timeline, but generally, most people will tell you to leave those bottles at room temp for at least 2 weeks.
Have patience, go buy some good craft beer in the meantime and save those bottles! Thats how I convince my wife to let me go buy beer even though I make it. The need for more empty bottles! Haha.
If it is your first batch I would suggest you put one in the fridge immediately for consumption tomorrow. It's cool to try a "green" beer and observe how it progresses. Then you can try another next week to see how it changes...and the following weekend it should be good to go.
I also only like to put a few in the fridge at a time. Leaving them out only makes them better.